Tips to Help You Win at Scrabble

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The word tips on a Scrabble board
By Stephen Lunt 23 OCT 2023

Looking to improve your Scrabble game? Check out our list of 30 top tips and tricks to help you win. From high-scoring words to game rules, these tips will be sure to give you a winning edge.

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1. Learn High-Scoring Two-Letter Words

High-scoring two-letter words can give you a significant advantage in Scrabble. Short words such as Za, Qi, Zo, and Xi are a great way to play difficult letter tiles whilst maximising your score.

Memorising these words will open up opportunities to score highly.

2. Utilize Board Multipliers

Board multipliers, such as double letters, triple letters, double words, and triple words have the potential to turn a mediocre word into a winning score.

Aim to play your tiles strategically to hit these multipliers at all costs and block opponents from landing on them. Plus, multipliers can stack. This means it’s possible to get double-double or triple-triple words which is highly advantageous.

3. Block Your Opponents Moves

As we stated above, board multipliers are very powerful for increasing your score. Hence, you should try to block your opponents from landing on these squares if possible. Always be thinking 2–3 moves ahead to anticipate what they may be planning or where they could play.

Furthermore, the end game in Scrabble can be very important if the points are close. At this stage, it’s possible to devise what letters your opponents may hold – enabling you to outplay them and stop any game-changing moves from occurring late on.

4. Learn to Hook Words

Hooking in Scrabble refers to joining letters onto the end of existing words that have been played on the board. For example, if your opponent played “Hi,” you could add “S” to the end to make “His” or longer variants such as “Hike” or “Highly.”

Hooks become very powerful if they extend words onto double- or triple-word squares - meaning your turn scores much higher than the originally played word.

5. Go for Scrabble Bingos

A bingo in Scrabble refers to playing all 7 of your tiles in a single turn. What makes Bingos so powerful is that you get an extra bonus of 50 points during that turn if you can successfully play one. Pretty impressive right?

Try out our bingo practice tool to get some experience solving bingo words before your next game.

6. Read the Scrabble Dictionary

Reading a Scrabble dictionary is a go-to method to check and understand which words are valid from a source you can trust. Additionally, most dictionaries will list the definitions of words allowing you to dive into their meaning.

Knowing the meanings of words often helps you to remember them for the future. Plus, it’s a great way of expanding your vocabulary for everyday life too.

7. Use Word Finders

Scrabble word finders are tools created for players to find new Scrabble words or check words against the official dictionary. These are very powerful at helping you win your Scrabble games as they do the work for you in finding valid words.

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8. Know the Tile Distribution

The Scrabble tile distribution refers to how many of each letter tile is available per game. By knowing how often a tile can be drawn, players can plan and adjust their gameplay based on what tiles are left.

This will help you understand what opportunities remain available to play specific words and understand how the game is scored.

There is nothing worse than waiting for a specific letter to be drawn to make your perfect word, only to find out all those letters have already been played.

9. Blank Tiles

Blank tiles in Scrabble represent a physically “blank” tile that can be swapped out for any letter in the alphabet of the player’s choice. When played, the points value of a blank tile remains zero regardless of the letter chosen.

Blanks are a highly flexible tile that’s great for getting out of sticky situations and building Scrabble bingo words as they can slot into words easily.

10. Understand the Game Rules

The Scrabble game rules set out at a basic level exactly how you should play the game and what is allowed. Knowing the rules will be beneficial to not only playing correctly but knowing what opportunities you can take advantage of to win.

For example, did you know you can challenge your opponents’ words to be officially checked against a dictionary whilst playing?

11. Memorize Easy Q Words

“Q” can be a very tricky letter to play and often needs to be accompanied by a “U” to form a valid word. That’s why memorizing these powerful, two- to three-letter Scrabble Q words will ensure you never get stuck playing a Q again.

  • QI - a Chinese word that refers to the life force or energy that flows throughout all living things.
  • SUQ - a type of street market, particularly in Arabic- and Somali-speaking countries, where people buy and sell goods.
  • QIN - a Chinese dynasty that ruled China 221-206 BC.
  • QAT - a shrub whose leaves are used as a mild stimulant when chewed or brewed.
  • QIS - is the plural of Qi (see above).
  • QUA - meaning in the capacity of.

Qi on Scrabble tile rack

12. Find a Scrabble Word List

Scrabble word lists are pre-prepared lists online that make finding words matching a certain criterion extremely simple. For example, 2-letter words containing a S or 7-letter words with an P. These styles of lists are a powerful winning strategy, as you can study the words before or even during a game, maximising the chances you’ll be able to play a tricky letter effectively.

You can create a word list on demand filtering out words starting with, containing, and ending in specific characters of a set length using our word finder for Scrabble.

13. Remember These Prefixes

A prefix is a letter or combination of letters that can be added to the front of a word to change its meaning. In Scrabble, prefixes are perfect for extending existing words to make them longer and worth more points.

Some common prefixes include: “un-”, “re-”, “pre-”, “dis-”, “mis-”, “in-”, “en-”, “over-”, and “post-” to name a few you can try to use in your next Scrabble game.

14. And These Suffixes

Suffixes are letters that can be added to the end of words. Most words in the English language can be extended with a suffix in some way, even if that is just adding an “s” to make the word plural.

We’ve written a more in-depth article about Scrabble suffixes if you’re looking to learn about the most common suffixes to use.

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15. Win with the S Tile

The “S” letter tile despite being only worth 1 point is often considered the most powerful tile in Scrabble. This is because it is a powerful way to extend words as discussed with suffixes above.

There are thousands of words in Scrabble that be extended with either an “s” or “es” to form a plural of the existing word. This easy method is a great hack for picking up additional points.

16. Handy Z Words

The letter “Z” is the highest scoring in the game, alongside the letter “Q.” There are hundreds of “Z” words under 5 characters long that are possible to play. Here are some of our favourites:

  • ZE - a gender-neutral pronoun.
  • ZO - a Tibetan breed of cattle.
  • ZA - is a shortened word for pizza.
  • ZAX - a tool for cutting roofing slates.
  • ZEK - a prisoner at a former soviet era labour camp.
  • FIZ - an alternative spelling for “fizz” - to make a hissing or sputtering sound.

The word “Ze” played on a Scrabble board

17. Join an Online Scrabble Community

There are plenty of online Scrabble communities, such as forums, Reddit pages, and Facebook groups which are dedicated to Scrabble.

These communities provide a fun and friendly space for players to connect with each other, share tips and strategies, and participate in competitions. Because of this, they’re a great way to learn from others, collect valuable resources and information, and improve your game.

18. Master these Tricky Letters (J, K, V, C)

Playing tricky letters like “J”, “K”, “V”, and “C” in Scrabble can be challenging but highly rewarding when played effectively. To master these words, it’s important to expand your vocabulary as wide as possible so you know where they can be effectively used.

19. Download some Online Resources

A quick search online will reveal there are many resources available for Scrabble players like downloadable and printable cheat sheets and word lists.

If you’re new to the game, it might be a good idea to have one of these handy whilst you play to refer to with your playing partner.

20. Word Cheat Tools

Dictionary word cheats are advanced word-finding tools that let you easily search the dictionary to find matching words. These are powerful tools that can be used to find words based on your letter tiles.

Some example queries include “Q words that end in S” or “5-letter Z words containing an E.”

21. Formulate a Winning Strategy

Scrabble, like many other word games, has certain strategies that can be used to increase your chance of winning. It’s important to have a clear plan in place, as well as a good understanding of the game’s rules and scoring system. This will help you to maximize the points you earn and make the most of the tiles dealt to you.

A successful strategy often involves balancing between offence and defence, playing tiles in a way that creates high-scoring words whilst also limiting the opportunities for your opponent to score. Using the bonus squares on the board strategically can be considered to be just as important as the words you play!

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22. Practice Makes Perfect

As the old saying goes; practice makes perfect. Playing Scrabble regularly will be one of the best ways to get better at the game in the long run and ensure you become a Scrabble pro for years to come.

23. Explore Other Ways of Playing

Another way to improve your playing abilities is to try a different version of the game to expose yourself to new opportunities and playing styles.

There are many alternative versions of Scrabble, but one we’d suggest is Scrabble Go as it has a great feature for playing with random players. This means you can experience and learn from other people from across the world who you wouldn’t normally play against.

24. Practice with Other Word Games

Becoming a winning player in Scrabble fundamentally comes down to your understanding of words and the ability to create words from letters (regardless of which language you play the game in).

Because of this, playing other word games will likely lead to improvements in your Scrabble abilities. So, why not try a crossword, word search, or even the latest hit game Wordle?

25. Winning X Words

“X” is another great letter in Scrabble due to its high points value. Here are our top short “X” words to remember:

  • AX - a tool for chopping wood, traditionally consisting of a heavy metal head and wooden handle.
  • XU - a minor unit of currency in Vietnam.
  • XI - the 14th letter of Classical and Modern Greek.
  • OX - an adult castrated male of cattle.
  • EX - has multiple meanings, most commonly used to represent a former partner or spouse, e.g., ex-girlfriend.

The word “Ax” played on a Scrabble board

26. No Vowel Words

Although uncommon due to the distribution of tiles in Scrabble favouring vowels, it is possible to be stuck completely without any vowels on your tile rack during a game. If this occurs, there are three main strategies to choose from to help you get out of this difficult situation.

Firstly, play the board. By this, we mean instead of trying to create a brand-new word from your tiles, simply just use a consonant to extend off vowels already played. Also referred to as hooking.

Alternatively, there are words valid in Scrabble that don’t use any vowels at all. These might be short words like “CH” or “ST”, and even sounds like “HMM” which are all valid.

As a final option, if truly stuck, you could choose to forfeit a turn and draw new tiles out of the bag to hopefully gain some vowels for the next round.

27. Read About Scrabble

Simply reading about Scrabble, whether it be on official sites, news articles, or blogs is a great way to find out more about the game and keep up to date with what’s happening in the community.

28. Know your Game Score

If you’re looking to win against your opponent, it’s important to keep track of the game score throughout the match. This means there’ll be no nasty surprises at the end of the round when you think you’ve won, but it turns out you haven’t.

Moreover, knowing your own and your opponent’s score throughout the game will enable you to apply a tailored strategy of offensive and defensive play.

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29. Play a Strong First Word

If you’re lucky enough to play first, use the opportunity wisely! As you may know from the Scrabble rules, the game starts on the middle square, which is an instant double points word. Don’t rush into playing straight away, and consider all possibilities from your first pick of tiles.

30. Enjoy the Game!

Finally, our last tip to winning at Scrabble is to simply have fun and enjoy the game. Although Scrabble can be competitive, it should be an enjoyable and sociable experience. The chances are if you’re enjoying what you’re doing, you’ll make a better player and get more out of the game in the long run. Happy playing all!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephen Lunt is Word Checker's founder and primary content writer. He loves to share his experiences and knowledge of word games through writing and creating handy online tools for players to use.

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